We had several dietary rules on my mission to Chile in 1976. The major one was don’t drink the water. Bottled water, soda, etc was the norm. Boiled water was OK (cafe’ de trigo anybody?). Also, we could only eat fruit that could be pealed. No berries, unless they were soaked in a water solution that contained some antibacterial additive.

In the two years on my mission, I only missed one or two days due to illness. Pretty good record even if I had stayed home in California!

There is a video on Youtube that tells the story about a missionary that got sick in Nicaragua. It is a very slick video produced by the church under a program called “The Safety Zone

The “Too Long Didn’t Watch” recap is that Sister Missionary goes to 3rd World country. Disobeys mission dietary rules, goes to doctor and told her stomach is damaged. Watch at 15:30 where she says she still has problems even months after she is home, and goes to her family MD who tells her she may have permanent damage. Then her Mission President’s wife calls her out and says “She broke the missions rules”

Who’s fault is it? The church for sending 18 and 19 year old kids to 3rd world countries, or the kids for not following the rules? She broke the rules during a visit to members, and didn’t want to offend them by refusing to eat what was offered. Couldn’t the local leaders have drilled this into the members that the gringo missioners are not to be offered food?

Do the native missionaries have the same rules as the gringos from the States? In my mission they did not. They could drink the water, as they had been drinking it since birth. It would have been easier if everybody was on the same rules.

While I see the benefit of this video, and trying to drive home the importance of following the health guidelines for your mission, it seems like lawyers got involved in this. It feels to me like the LDS church trying to place blame on the missionary and absolve themselves of any culpability in missionary illness.

What are your thoughts?